What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “final resting place”? Until recently, I had not given this subject much thought. I just figured I would be buried when my time comes, because that’s what happens when you die, right? But then I read a touching, sad, funny article about a young widow who struggled with her late husband’s wishes to be cremated. She honored his request, and has since taken small batches of his ashes with her on her life’s journeys. Birthdays, anniversaries, vacations of all sorts, she has spread his ashes everywhere she wanted him to be along for the ride. How great is that?! How beautiful it would be to have a ritual that allows you to feel less alone, gives you some inner peace and maybe also a small sense of control. That said, there are many more considerations to be made about your body’s final disposition than simply “cemetery or mausoleum?”. Let’s look at a few options.
Choosing a green, or natural burial means that you wish for your burial to have less of an environmental impact. The body is not embalmed, and is buried in a readily biodegradable enclosure in a grave not prepared with concrete. If you wish to take “green” to the next level, now you may have your remains encapsulated in a cocoon of sorts, then planted under a tree’s roots.
Burial-at-sea services are most commonly used in the armed forces. These services are usually conducted by the ship’s Captain, or a religious representative. The ceremony may include burial in a casket, burial sewn in sailcloth, burial in an urn, or scattering of the cremated remains into the water.
If a person chooses to be cremated, there are seemingly infinite ways to memorialize them. Urns and other keepsake holders are common, and come in every shape, size, and material imaginable. Recently, more creative options have gained popularity. Now it is possible to have cremains shaped into beautiful glass art sculptures, made into a “diamond” or incorporated into a piece of jewelry, or have the ashes included in the ink of a memorial tattoo, the list goes on and on.
Once you have considered all of your options, and have decided on the “how” and “where” of your final resting place, it is imperative that you make your wishes known. Telling your loved ones is a good start. Additionally, you should include these details in a living will, or advanced directive if you have either or both of those in place.